Latino/a/x Issues Conference discusses diversity, minority experiences

Members+of+the+Latino+Student+Union+Executive+Board+who+made+up+the+panel.

Members of the Latino Student Union Executive Board who made up the panel.

Latinos are the largest minority in the United States, according to the United States Census Bureau. However, BGSU’s Latino/a/x Issues Conference’s “Our Story, Then and Now” panel, held March 27, discussed how although Latinxs are the largest minority, they are often the most misunderstood, especially in college.

“Recognizing that I represent more than myself and trying to find a way to make a difference without violence is the most difficult part about being a person of color,” BGSU’s Latino Student Union President Sadi Troche said during the panel discussion.

Making a difference for other Latinxs without conforming to stereotypes was a main topic discussed. The panel also dove into their experiences as persons of color on a college campus.

“I like to make sure the people who need to be in the room are in the room during diversity and inclusion trainings, that there is space in the room and that the space is open and welcoming. Positive experiences like that can change how someone functions around people who are different than them for the rest of their life,” Troche said.

Troche later explained that because she has both Latina and African American roots, she often is stereotyped as “an angry black woman” and “a sassy Latina woman.” She went on to explain that finding a community that understands you is important in college.

Xavi Boes, sophomore panelist and treasurer of LSU, felt similarly.

“The lack of diversity in the classroom is really hard; being prepared for that is important. You have to find your community, because they might not find you first,” Boes said.

Finding Latinx representation in the classroom was described by the panel as a struggle for many Latinx students; however, the panel did point out one of the professors, Dr. Luis Moreno, in the audience who had impacted each of their collegiate experiences.  

“These students are still navigating the educational pipeline in the context of where they feel safe enough to speak their voice. I’m happy I was able to make a positive impact on their lives, and hopefully, the positive impact I had on them, they can have on others,” Moreno said after the panel.

Like Moreno, there were also other diversity and inclusion advocates in the audience, such as Undergraduate Student Government Director of Diversity and Inclusion Courtney Chambers.

“I saw that everyone has a story, just like what I saw at the Black Issues Conference. We are a team as students of color. It was interesting to hear students connect on their similar upbringings if they were first generation college students or undocumented. A lot of our stories are intertwined, and it has shaped us and made us who we are today,” Chambers said.

The panel broke down the stereotypes some students face as Latinxs, discussed life before and after college and invited other students to find their home away from home during their college years.